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AIR POLLUTION

Paris cops issue 13,000 fines to fight pollution

As part of an effort to fight "dangerous" levels of air pollution in the French capital, police in Paris have handed out around 13,000 speeding fines to drivers in recent days, authorities said on Tuesday.

Paris cops issue 13,000 fines to fight pollution
Paris cops wrote a lot of tickets in the past week in an effort to fight pollution. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Police in Paris have taken it upon theselves to battle against "dangerous" levels of air pollution in the capital by handing out thousands of speeding tickets.

The crackdown was part of a battle by authorities to deal with high levels of air pollution that have been recorded in the capital since the middle of last week. Environmental groups have said the levels of polluting particles in the air are putting people's lives in danger.

Paris's police authority said on Tuesday that because it is "particularly attentive to changes in air quality," it decided to use its legal authority to step up its traffic stops.  As a result, officers carried out over 30,000 vehicle stops since last Wednesday.

On Monday The Local reported that environmental groups in Paris made a formal request to legal authorities to tackle the problem pollution, which is caused by high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air and can pose a risk to anyone who suffers from asthma or other breathing difficulties.

On Tuesday breathing specialist Dr Gilles Dixsaut, told Le Parisien newspaper the pollution levels inthe French capital costs Parisians "at least six months off their lives". 

Dixsaut said certain people in the capital are more exposed than others.

"It used to be the industrial areas [that provided the greater risk] but now it is the main road interchanges. Those people living near them are most affected by nitrogen dioxide that is produced by diesel vehicles.

"Nothing has been done in France about this."

Ecology without Borders (Écologie sans Frontière), Breath (Respire) and Unity for the Planet (Rassemblement pour la Planète) lodged a legal complaint in Paris, on the grounds that pollution levels are endangering people’s lives.

“We are sick of this air pollution,” Nadir Saifi, spokesman of Ecology with Borders told France Info. "As soon as the weather is good, and as soon as it's dry in winter you have these peaks in pollution and the emergency wards at hospitals fill up. Slogans and small demonstrations are no longer enough.”

The pollution in and around Paris is generally caused by the particles known as PM 10, that are emitted by vehicles as well as by chimneys of houses and factories.

In another official effort intended to curb air pollution, Paris Town Hall announced that residential parking will be free on Tuesday and Wednesday. The idea is apparently to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home and take public transportation. 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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